Stone Sentinels, battlefield monuments of the American Civil War


Winchester - Pritchard's Hill (1st & 2nd Kernstown)

Fulkerson's Virginians Attack

The marker is south of Winchester, Virginia, southwest of the Visitor Center on the Pritchard-Grim Farm owned and operated by the Kernstown Battlefield Association. It was erected by Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District.

 

The farm is open to the public from the second weekend in May through October. See the Association's website for more information.

 

Location and Directions

From Interstate 81 take exit 310 onto Virginia Route 37 and immediately exit onto US 11 north, the Valley Pike. Stay on the Valley Pike for 1.5 miles, then turn left onto Battle Park Drive at the fifth light. Stay on Battle Park Drive for two blocks and enter the battlefield grounds through the iron gates. The marker is on a walking trail 400 yards from the Visitor Center. (39.14138° N, 78.19913° W; see map)

 

Text from the marker

 

The First Battle of Kernstown

***
Fulkerson’s Virginians Attack!

 

The low, marshy ground stretching from here to the distant road lay uncontested through the five-hour artillery duel that opened the First Battle of Kernstown. The scene changed dramatically at 2:00 P.M. when 900 Virginians marched toward this position from the leafless woods previously standing across the road.

 

Colonel Samuel V. Fulkerson led this Confederate attack. A lawyer from Abingdon, Virginia, Fulkerson received his orders directly from General “Stonewall” Jackson, who ordered him to “turn a battery of the enemy” on Pritchard’s Hill (the hill directly behind you). To protect his men from the sixteen cannon that opposed him, Fulkerson placed the 37th Virginia and the 23rd Virgina in a formation that spanned 80 yards across and 200 yards deep. With Fulkerson leading his men on a white horse, 600 Virginians paced with him followed by the 33rd Virginia marching 150 yards behind them. As the head of the 37th Virgina passed by this position, the tail of the 33rd Virginia crossed the distant road into this field.

 

Union artillery fired upon the approaching Virginians, tearing gaping holes into the deep ranks of troops as they marched though the field. When Fulkerson shifted his men to the left, the horror intensified as the Confederate flanks became hopelessly exposed to the unrelenting cannon fire. Unable to reach his destination at the base of Pritchard’s Hill, Fulkerson rushed his men westward across Middle Road (to your right) and up the wooded edge of Sandy Ridge. Perhaps as many as 80 Confederates were killed and wounded in the charge. One company, from Colonel Fulkerson’s hometown, lost 24 men in this daring but fruitless assault.

 

From the Right Sidebar:

Edward Lindsey Clarke (top) was struck in the leg and arm by shell fragments during the charge against Pritchard’s Hill, while his brother Clordoma (bottom) suffered a lesser wound. The brothers, serving in the 23rd Virginia infantry, survived their injuries and the remainder of the war.

Wayside marker on "Fulkerson's Virginians Attack" at the on the Pritchard-Grimm farm on the Kernstown Battlefield.
(above) Wayside marker on "Fulkerson's Virginians Attack" at the on the Pritchard-Grimm farm on the Kernstown Battlefield. (see enlargement)

 

illustration of Colonel Samuel V. Fulkerson, from the Fulkerson's Virginians Attack marker

From the Sidebar:

Commending his men for fighting “with desperate courage,” Colonel Samuel V. Fulkerson conspicuously led the assault across the fields in front of Pritchard’s Hill. Considered “a great favorite” of “Stonewall” Jackson, Fulkerson’s death at Gaines’ Mill, three months after Kernstown moved Jackson to tears.





About the Author • ©2007-2014 Steve Hawks